It’s that time of year again, when the elderly man in the bungalow, with the long white beard, dons his red suit and we in the village suspend disbelief for a couple of hours. The brass band decides whether to risk rusting their instruments in the mizzle, and we the villagers traipse to the square and pay vast amounts of cash for a plastic cup of watery mulled wine. Yes it’s lighting up night. – hurrah!
Obviously, the charity shop will be selling charity seasonal cards and the hairdressers will be steamed up with some sort of hands on treatment. The post office will attempt to be jolly, with its decorations from the 1970s, but will be firmly shut for the occasion.
The church choir (all five of them) will attempt at warbling against the throng and I will no doubt take pity and raise the sound level with my hearty soprano.
I’m not sure who will provide the mince pies and sausage rolls this year, now that the hardware store (and his wife) are no longer trading, hopefully our new upmarket bread shop and café will fill the gap – maybe the Wives and Conservative Clubs or Women’s Institute will rise to the pastry challenge. Clearly, we are not the kind of Cornish village that attracts ice-daring coachloads such as Mousehole. We just mooch about, say a few hellos, and head for the pub or telly back home.
From this day forward we are expected to display our Christmas cheer in light form, until the New Year. As half of the adult population, in my home, doesn’t recognise it (being ‘ba humbug’ until the actual morning/afternoon of the 25th) we tend to have minor conflict over the cost of electricity versus community spirit – all very loving and peaceful.
The art of persuading the beloved to hedge trim, around the string of outside lights, requires the manipulating attributes of Eve. How to persuade him that climbing up a ladder and trimming bits of foliage is a remarkably good idea requires a great deal of subtle crafting. My tips are as follows: never on an empty stomach, never on a cold, foggy night, always provide the tools of torch and secateurs and be prepared to hold the ladder clearly wearing more than an Eve-like fig leaf (it's more sensible to alert traffic rather than scare it). These tips are not foolproof and unlikely to work now I have blogged about them. So if all else fails do it yourself.
As to Christmas this year, now the children are grown up we have respite for a while. We can roast a bird, light a fire, drink a glass or two and indulge in some quality choral renditions. I can Midnight Mass it to my heart’s content and still get a book token (hopefully) - all with my slippers on (yes even the Midnight service because the church is my home too).